There are so many beautiful and unusual squashes available in farmers markets now. So appealing to look at with their colourful, speckled skins and knobbly shapes. Any squash works well stuffed, however Gem and Acorn happen to be my absolute favourites. With delicate, creamy flesh, they’re delicious just baked with a knob of butter, salt and pepper. Stuff them and you have a substantial meal. You don’t really need a recipe either – just a few basic steps and dinner practically makes itself.
Here’s a recipe, to get you started. I’m sticking with vegetables in this one. I always seem to have a bit of this and that in my fridge that requires using up, so you can see the filling possibilities are endless. The perfect, healthy midweek meal.
Mushroom & Spinach Stuffed Gem Squash
- 4 Gem Squash
- 60 g red or wholemeal rice
- 100 g fresh spinach washed
- 200 g chestnut mushrooms cut into quarters or eighths depending on size
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 100 g cherry tomatoes or the same of sun blush tomatoes oil drained
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 14 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
- 80 g feta cheese
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- 3 tables olive oil
- 2 Tbls pomegranate seeds. optional
- 2 tbls chopped flat leaf parsley
- 1/2 lemon zest of
- 1/2 clove garlic minced
- 4 Tbls olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 150C fan and have a baking sheet ready. If you’re baking the tomatoes, cut the tomatoes in half and place on the baking tray and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Set to one side.
- Increase the oven temperature to 180Cfan.
- To prepare the squash, use a sharp chef’s knife to cut the tops off. Use a large spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy bits inside, discard.
- Place the squash with the lids on the baking tray. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in the squash, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put the lids on the squash. Bake until the flesh is easily pierced through with a fork, about 35 to 40 minutes. leave the oven on.
- To prepare the filling: Cook the rice according to the packet instructions, set to one side. In a medium saucepan heat the olive oil. Add the chopped onion and garlic, saute until translucent. Add the spices, stir and cook for a minute or two. Add the mushrooms and cook for 3-5 minutes. Now add the washed spinach and stir, increase the heat a little. Stir to wilt the leaves and cook to remove any excess moisture. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat. Pour the filling into a bowl and add the rice and stir to incorporate.
- Once the squash have cooled a little, scoop out SOME of the flesh. Stir the scooped out flesh into the filling with 50g of the feta and the tomatoes.
- Stuff the squash, pushing as much filling as you possibly can into each one. topmwith the lids
- Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven. Combine the parsley, lemon zest, garlic and a little sea salt and black pepper. Sprinkle the remain feta on the squash with the pomegranate seeds. Drizzle with the herb oil serve,